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Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen warn against doubting Thiago Alcantara at Liverpool

Thiago Alcantara has made a slow start to life as a Liverpool player
Thiago Alcantara has made a slow start to life as a Liverpool player
Modified 17 Feb 2021

Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand have both warned against writing off Thiago Alcantara, given the problems that Liverpool are facing as a whole this season.

So far, Thiago has not been able to consistently perform at the level he is capable of at Liverpool.

After joining the Reds in September, Thiago immediately tested positive for COVID-19 and then spent two months on the sidelines after a heavy challenge from Richarlison during the Merseyside Derby in October.

Speaking on BT Sport, Owen said he would be wary of making any judgements on Thiago a bit too soon.

"He’s coming into a team that aren’t on top of their game at the moment, so it’s hard to make a judgement," Owen said, in quotes published on the Liverpool Echo.
"We were discussing earlier, as a player, you appreciate him. He’s probably the most unique player in the Premier League in terms of what he can do, there’s nobody like him.
"Probably the closest thing is a Paul Scholes, the way he gives the eyes, however, when you look at him, you think: does he assist many? Not really, all his good passes are from a deep position."

Owen, though, said that Thiago is not a great defensive player.

However, the former Liverpool and Manchester United striker argued that he was brilliant despite that, and that Liverpool would soon see the best of him.

"Does he stop goals? We’ve seen from those clips, he’s not a great defensive player.
"However, we all know he’s brilliant, so he’s pulling on your heartstrings either way, it’s very difficult," Owen said.

Rio Ferdinand says Thiago Alcantara has proved enough to not be doubted

Thiago has come into a Liverpool side beleaguered by injuries
Thiago has come into a Liverpool side beleaguered by injuries

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand echoed Owen's sentiments, saying that Thiago had done enough in his career to avoid being doubted for a slow start to life at Liverpool.

"I love him, I think he’s a great player. He might not necessarily play that final pass, the assist, but the one before that - the pre-assist, he’s the one that plays the ball to get someone in.
"Bayern were the best pressing team in Europe last season, undoubtedly, and he was a key component, but, like Michael said, he’s a player who’s come into a team dismantled with injuries," Ferdinand concluded.

Thiago was instrumental on Tuesday night in an excellent Liverpool performance. The Reds won 2-0 against RB Leipzig in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

Published 17 Feb 2021, 16:07 IST
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